As a regular reader of yours, I’ve found that whenever a late-twenty-something who’s never had a relationship writes in, you advise, do more social networking, make more friends, and trust that "nature will then take over." However, my experience has been that it’s unhealthy to maintain friendships with people one finds attractive, while harbouring secret feelings. My view is admittedly skewed by my longtime pattern of befriending women I find attractive, then abruptly ending the friendship when it’s evident that my interest in a relationship isn’t shared. So it seems to me that the answer to this problem is to learn to be assertive enough to entice reciprocal attraction.
- A Friend in Deed
Welcome to the relationship learning curve. You’ll know whether zooming in on someone like a heat-seeking missile is the right approach, IF it works. Otherwise, you’ll undoubtedly try another tactic with the next person you find attractive. That’s the normal process. Previously, you’ve found that mixing friendships with secret yearnings is painful. But you misread my meaning behind advising social networking. It’s advice I give to people who say they have trouble finding others to “date”… I stand by my belief that the more people you befriend casually, the more possibilities there are for eventually making a connection with one, or for being introduced by a friend to that someone special. Thanks for being a “regular” and sharing your thoughts. It’s a good opportunity for me to remind readers that my answers are targeted specifically to the person who writes me, and while I believe I’m generally consistent in my views, the bottom line is that every situation is different.
My 80-year-old mother-in-law has lived with us and our three young children for two years. I clean, do laundry and cook for everyone. I work full time, plus one weekend monthly. My husband has used a week of his holidays taking his Mom to medical appointments. She has incontinence problems because she won’t take her medications, and makes terrible messes that my husband and I clean up. A nurse only comes two days, and doesn’t bathe her completely. Recently, I overheard her speaking to her oldest son on the phone telling him outright lies about the "terrible living conditions" she has to endure in our home, the "awful behaviour of my children" and that my husband and I are alcoholics (untrue)! I told her that I’d overheard and was shocked and hurt. She just walked away. I asked my husband to tell his brother that I’d overheard, and I also told him he needed to speak to his mother and I want an apology from her. My husband refuses to talk about it and they’re both pretending nothing happened. I cannot overlook this, it’s finally too much for me to cope with. I realize he probably feels guilty about moving her out, but I won't put up with abuse from anyone, regardless of their age. She must move into an assisted-living facility or our marriage is over.
You’ve come up with a logical solution for your mother-in-law’s care, given the circumstances, but unfortunately you’ve made the ultimatum arbitrary and excessive. The problem is this woman’s needs, not your marriage. Yes, your husband IS disappointing you, but he’s torn between the two women in his life. Step back from this extreme position and insist that the family meet to discuss Mom’s needs. All the siblings should be participating in this necessary decision, and helping financially if at all possible. There are options to consider: daily nursing visits and homemaking help, moving to another adult child’s home or an assisted living facility. Remember, this woman’s mind and body are deteriorating, so while her comments were insulting, try to focus on what works best for this next phase of her life, which is difficult for everyone. It’s the family who should apologize to you and help settle the matter.
My problem is the "family newsletter" at Christmas and New Year. How does one POLITELY ask to be removed from the mailing list? Have these people considered that the recipient may have recently had tragedy strike and is no mood to read about the happy lives that others are leading?
- Newsletter Grinch
Exercise your muscle – and toss the letter. Refusing it is never polite, but no one’s forcing you to read it.
Tip of the day:
The more open you are to making friends, the more you broaden your network for eventually meeting someone with whom you connect romantically.